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ICE jail transfers are violent


Friday, July 29th, 2022– On Monday, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) began transferring immigrants detained at Orange County Jail  in Goshen, NY, to Mississippi and other unknown facilities outside the state of New York. As of now, it is estimated that over 75 immigrants have been disappeared and transferred by ICE without prior notice to the families nor attorneys of the people detained there.

Transfers have long been used by ICE as a form of retaliation against detained organizers and communities fighting to end ICE contracts with local jails or to close detention centers. Immigrants detained in Orange County Jail have gone on multiple hunger strikes to demand humane treatment and filed complaints against the facility. In retaliation, ICE took detained New Yorkers away from their source of support and moved some of them to Adams County Jail in Mississippi, a facility known to be equally inhumane and rampant with anti-Black violence

In the midst of two global health crises, COVID-19 and monkeypox, we demand that Orange County Jail end its contract with ICE in a way that allows immigrant New Yorkers to be released and reunited with their communities, not transferred. ICE has the discretion to release detained individuals at any time but continues to cruelly cage immigrants. We recognize that ICE’s transfer tactics are a deliberate and violent attempt to stop mass mobilization efforts to free criminalized immigrants across the country. However, these efforts will continue until we free them all. 

Nana Gyamfi, Executive Director, Black Alliance for Just Immigration:
“We reject DHS’ cruel description of these transfers as acceptable per protocol.  All the places of horror and their operations – from slave ships to Japanese internment prisons had their observed protocols. The adherence to the checklists and protocols does not change the traumatic impact or egregious nature of the actions.

So, while we want to be sure that protocols that protect people’s rights are followed, we demand that DHS focus on the issue of this retaliation and the inhumanity of further separating people from their support systems in their time of greatest need. ICE must start releasing people and stop these transfers.”

Jojo Annobil, Executive Director, Immigrant Justice Corps:
“Immigrant Justice Corps condemns ICE’s dangerous and unconscionable decision to transfer detained immigrants from Orange County Jail to unknown facilities outside New York State, without notifying detainees’ families or legal representatives. Transferring detainees without notice is even more appalling in the face of two global health crises, flagrantly disregarding their own protocols and denying any due process to those impacted. We urge ICE to immediately release these detained immigrants and reunite them with their families.” 

Carl Hamad-Lipscombe, Executive Director, Envision Freedom Fund:
“ICE’s lack of transparency and purposeful obstruction of information has left families, legal teams and even the immigrants involved, unaware of where they are headed.  The trauma of detention is compounded when people are transferred far away from their support systems. These transfers are one of the many ways that ICE exerts its power over immigrants who are already in vulnerable situations that compromise their ability to fight their cases.  Envision Freedom Fund demands that ICE and the Biden Administration release all of the individuals who were covertly transferred from New York to Mississippi.”

Sirine Shebaya, Executive Director of the National Immigration Project
“At this point it is incomprehensible why ICE continues to perpetuate a regime of detention and incarceration instead of doing the right, humane, and compassionate thing: enabling people to be free and supported as they pursue their options within the draconian immigration system they are forced to navigate. Instead of transferring people to remote locations with no access to counsel and complete separation from their families, ICE should immediately release them so they can return to their communities.”

Samah Sisay, Center for Constitutional Rights:
“ICE transfers are a cruel attempt to keep criminalized immigrants away from their support systems. We  demand that ICE release everyone currently detained at Orange County Jail and return those transferred out of New York State. New York should get out of the business of detaining immigrants by passing  the Dignity Not Detention Act (S7374/A7099), which  would prohibit local jails from entering contracts with ICE for the purpose of detaining immigrants.” 

Heidi Altman, Director of Policy, National Immigrant Justice Center: 
“Waking people in the middle of the night and forcing them, with no notice, to travel to an unknown destination that is far from their loved ones and attorneys—these are tactics of cruelty and intimidation. There is no reason or justification for ICE to continue jailing people during their immigration proceedings when they could be in the safety of their homes and communities.” 

The *Until We’re Free coalition was formed because we need to rethink the archaic criminal provisions frequently included in federal immigration legislation and instead focus on modern community-led, transformative solutions that improve our lives and communities. It is time that our immigration laws are free from anti-Blackness and that immigration is centered as a racial justice issue.